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Dja Dja Wurrung in the spotlight

Dja Dja Wurrung history and Culture opens ‘The Trentham District Story’, a series of signs about the history of the Trentham district, which were launched by the Trentham and District Historical Society outside the society’s museum on Camp Street Trentham on 24 March.   

Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Uncle Rick Nelson worked with DJAARA staff members Hannah Webster, Harley Dunolly-Lee, Harley Douglas, Caleb Dunolly-Lee and Oli Moraes to develop content for the Dja Dja Wurrung sign, which appears first in the series. 

The sign proudly puts Djaara back in the landscape. It will enable the wider community to understand and appreciate more about Djandak and Djaara, through stories of traditional Culture, historical events and people, and contemporary Dja Dja Wurrung activity on Djandak.

While he could not attend the launch, Uncle Rick said he would like to see further work with local communities to increase awareness through initiatives like interpretive signage and Cultural tourism. 

“Although there are many many stories to tell of Dja Dja Wurrung people in the early stages of occupation, it is good to highlight some of the people who shone with extraordinary kindness and unbiased actions in helping the European settlers. These signs show a glimpse of those histories that need to be told,” Uncle Rick said.

Jason Kerr, who performed the smoking and Welcome, highlighted the importance of partnering with Traditional Owners. 
“Having non-Aboriginal communities knowing the history around this part of Dja Dja Wurrung Country is really significant,” Jason said. 
“Having them understand more about how our People survived, what our Ancestors went through. It’s really important to have the story of our First Nations People along with the stories of the early white settlers.” 
Hannah Webster noted that Australian histories have ignored, misunderstood, and treated with contempt the histories of First Nations people for too long. 
“A lot has been achieved, but there’s still a long way to go,” Hannah said. 
“Projects like this are key to increasing community understanding of Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners and the true shared history. This sign properly recognises Dja Dja Wurrung as the Traditional Owners of this unceded land.” 
Dja Dja Wurrung inclusion in the Trentham District Story was facilitated by DJAARA Executive Team Manager Jim Brooks, who saw the need and an opportunity, engaged with the Trentham Historical Society and supported DJAARA input.


Hannah Webster (left) and Jason Kerr with the opening sign (further signs in background). Second photo: Reverse side of the DJAARA sign.